Although Virginia Tech lost the National Championship Game Tuesday night, they did not go away losers. Instead, the Hokies showed the nation that they were champions.
It would have been easy for the team to tuck their collective tail between their legs and run away after Florida State jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the first half, especially after star running back Shyrone Stith received a game-ending injury. But, the Hokies never backed down from the battle. The team showed true grit in their performance, and Michael Vick added the finishing touch to his unbelievable freshman year.
I wore one of my maroon VT sweatshirts to work the day after the big game. My co-workers all know what an avid fan I am, so I expected to hear some good-natured jibes. After all, what are friends for? Instead, they couldn't stop talking about the Hokie's heart and desire, portrayed best by the teenager from Newport News. I am reminded of a quote by Vince Lombardi when thinking of this year's Hokies: 'It's not the size of the dog in the fight that counts; it's the fight in the dog.'
Those same feelings are being emulated across the country by the 16 million plus viewers of the Sugar Bowl. Michael Vick has focused the national spotlight on the state of Virginia, and that attention won't end after this season. Now that he actually has a season's worth of experience he will only get better. That thought will cause many sleepless nights for defensive coordinators who have to face this phenom in the near future, but brings only a smile to the faces of Hokie faithful. The trip to New Orleans may not have brought the Sears Trophy back to Blacksburg, but Hokie fans are confident the opportunity will present itself again soon enough.
It's true, I would have been happier with a win, but nothing can diminish the pride I feel for this team. Tech graduates have been living vicariously through them during this dream season, and regardless of the point totals on the scoreboard at the Superdome, the Hokies finished the season as true winners.
The only thing I feel bad about now is that I have to wait 8 more months for the next Hokie football game!
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